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Home arrow Reviews arrow TV Review arrow Doctor Who: Series 2 - “Love & Monsters” Friday, 21 July 2006
  Doctor Who: Series 2 - “Love & Monsters” Print E-mail
  Written by Arnold T. Blumberg
  Thursday, 22 June 2006
 

ImageElton is just an average guy trying to live a normal life, but he’s haunted by the memory of a man he saw in his living room when he was three years old. This “Doctor” is known to others, and soon Elton has a group of friends dedicated to learning more about the Doctor as well as sharing some happy times. Then the self-dubbed team known as “L.I.N.D.A.” is usurped by the mysterious Victor Kennedy, who has his own reasons for wanting to find this elusive Doctor. Elton will have to make a choice about whether to continue the crusade or escape Kennedy’s grasp, but will Elton wind up losing the happiness he’s found while struggling to preserve it?

The first 30 minutes of this episode consist of a touching little tale about a group of misfits who discover the joy to be had in simple fellowship. True, it’s not my idea of what Doctor Who should normally be, but it’s a very pleasant departure with solid performances by Marc Warren as Elton, Peter Kay as the pushy cad Kennedy and Camille Coduri in perhaps her finest hour as Rose’s mother Jackie. While the episode’s theme of examining the Doctor’s effect on people’s lives has already been accomplished better on the show through characters like Rose, Jackie, Mickey, and even Sarah Jane Smith, it’s still a subject worth exploring when you have an actor like Warren at the center of it all. But that’s just the first 30 minutes.

The final 10 minutes of this episode is a pathetic, juvenile attack on the audience’s intelligence and emotions, destroying the dynamic of the first 30 minutes, laying waste to the good feelings inspired by a lovable cast of characters, and replacing them with a clone of Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies as he lolls his tongue around and runs through the London suburbs in a green rubber costume, a black speedo and a Mohawk (!). It’s also not Doctor Who; if anything, it’s a self-loathing parody that belittles everything the rest of the episode established. And when the Doctor and Rose do deign to show up for a few minutes at the end, Rose berates poor Elton while the Doctor imprisons a sweet girl for eternity in a slab of stone so our erstwhile central character can use her framed face for sexual gratification.

“Love & Monsters” has been described as an experiment. It was a brave attempt to tell a story without the two leads for obvious cost-cutting reasons (even resorting early on to the old standby, clips of past episodes – although truth to tell, they spent money on restaging some bits instead of simply recycling footage, so how smart was that move after all?). Sadly, it’s an attempt that ultimately fails because it squanders all of its potential by incorporating a laughable monster and offensive humor at exactly the wrong moment. You can’t expect viewers to take the revelation of Elton’s tragic past seriously when we’ve just seen Mohawk Speedo Man absorb the scenery with abandon. In the end, this is Doctor Who at its worst – and yes, I remember the Myrka. D-

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